We've all probably seen Instagram posts comparing the vision of dogs with what we see. Some of them tell us that dogs see in black and white. Is it true? Can our dogs not see that gorgeous rainbow in the sky? Well, there is some truth to what the Instagram posts tell us. The things dogs see look different from what we see.
Why do dogs see differently?
There is a type of cell in the eye known as cones. These cells are responsible for the perception of color. Different types of cones are sensitive to different colors. So if an animal has more types of cones then it can see more colors.
Humans have three different types of cones in their eyes. Together, these three types of cones allow the average human to see one million shades or more.
On the other hand, dogs have only two types of cones in their eyes. This doesn't mean that they see the world in black and white, only that they can distinguish fewer colors than the average human.
What do dogs see?
The things that dogs see is very similar to that of humans with red-green colorblindness. Like humans with this condition, They may mix red and green, or those with any red or green components, like purple or blue-green.
Since they are unable to distinguish the color red from green, they simply see it as dark brown. Purple, which is a mix of red and blue, looks like pure blue to dogs because they can't see the red part.
Colors seen by humans
Colors seen by dogs
Apart from the color issue, a dog's sight is pretty bad. Using a custom eye test for dogs, researchers have found that dogs basically have 20/75 vision compared to a person's 20/20 vision.
This means that a dog that is 20 feet from an object sees what a person with unimpaired (or 20/20) vision can see from 75 feet away.
In conclusion, dogs definitely don't see things as black and white. They do perceive color, just not as many shades as us. What they see is similar to a human with red-green colorblindness. So to answer the question, yes, dogs are colorblind.